Sunday, February 26, 2006

Iran demands apology for German soccer cartoon

Reuters - The Iranian embassy in Germany has demanded a written apology from a Berlin newspaper that printed a cartoon of Iranian soccer players dressed as suicide bombers and threatened legal action if none is forthcoming.

The sketch, published on Friday by Der Tagesspiegel, shows four moustachioed soccer players wearing Iran shirts with explosives strapped to their chests next to four German soldiers in a soccer stadium.

A caption above read: "Why the German army should definitely be used during the Soccer world Cup!", referring to a debate in Germany about whether to use troops to help with security during the month-long tournament which begins June 9.

Stephan-Andreas Casdorff, the daily's managing editor, said on Monday he regretted the reaction to the drawing but did not consider an apology necessary.

The cartoon's artist had received three death threats and had been forced to leave his apartment, he said, adding that the police was investigating the threats.

In a letter to Der Tagesspiegel seen by Reuters on Monday, the Iranian embassy in Berlin said the cartoon was offensive and accused the paper of using sport to make a political point in an "irresponsible and immoral way".

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Monday, February 06, 2006

Most important lesson

During my second month of uni, our teacher gave us a pop quiz. I was a conscientious student and had breezed through the questions, until I read the last one: "What is the first name of the woman who cleans the university ?"
Surely this was some kind of joke. I had seen the cleaning woman several times. She was tall, dark-haired and in her 50s, but how would I know her name? I handed in my paper, leaving the last question blank.
Just before class ended, one student asked if the last question would count toward our quiz grade. "Absolutely," said the teacher. "In your careers, you will meet many people. All are significant. They deserve your attention and care, even if all you do is smile and say 'hello'."
I've never forgotten that lesson. I also learned her name was Dorothy.